Tucker Carlson gets it:
It turns out the GOP wasn’t simply out of touch with its voters; the party had no idea who its voters were or what they believed. For decades, party leaders and intellectuals imagined that most Republicans were broadly libertarian on economics and basically neoconservative on foreign policy. That may sound absurd now, after Trump has attacked nearly the entire Republican catechism (he savaged the Iraq War and hedge fund managers in the same debate) and been greatly rewarded for it, but that was the assumption the GOP brain trust operated under. They had no way of knowing otherwise. The only Republicans they talked to read the Wall Street Journal too.
On immigration policy, party elders were caught completely by surprise. Even canny operators like Ted Cruz didn’t appreciate the depth of voter anger on the subject. And why would they? If you live in an affluent ZIP code, it’s hard to see a downside to mass low-wage immigration. Your kids don’t go to public school. You don’t take the bus or use the emergency room for health care. No immigrant is competing for your job. (The day Hondurans start getting hired as green energy lobbyists is the day my neighbors become nativists.) Plus, you get cheap servants, and get to feel welcoming and virtuous while paying them less per hour than your kids make at a summer job on Nantucket. It’s all good.
Apart from his line about Mexican rapists early in the campaign, Trump hasn’t said anything especially shocking about immigration. Control the border, deport lawbreakers, try not to admit violent criminals — these are the ravings of a Nazi? This is the “ghost of George Wallace” that a Politico piece described last August? A lot of Republican leaders think so. No wonder their voters are rebelling.
Truth Is Not Only A Defense, It’s Thrilling
When was the last time you stopped yourself from saying something you believed to be true for fear of being punished or criticized for saying it? If you live in America, it probably hasn’t been long. That’s not just a talking point about political correctness. It’s the central problem with our national conversation, the main reason our debates are so stilted and useless. You can’t fix a problem if you don’t have the words to describe it. You can’t even think about it clearly.
This depressing fact made Trump’s political career. In a country where almost everyone in public life lies reflexively, it’s thrilling to hear someone say what he really thinks, even if you believe he’s wrong. It’s especially exciting when you suspect he’s right.
A temporary ban on Muslim immigration? That sounds a little extreme (meaning nobody else has said it recently in public). But is it? Millions of Muslims have moved to Western Europe over the past 50 years, and a sizable number of them still haven’t assimilated. Instead, they remain hostile and sometimes dangerous to the cultures that welcomed them. By any measure, that experiment has failed. What’s our strategy for not repeating it here, especially after San Bernardino—attacks that seemed to come out of nowhere? Invoke American exceptionalism and hope for the best? Before Trump, that was the plan.
Go here to read the rest. This year is a prime example of what Carlson is talking about. With control of Congress, the Republican leadership, if you can call it that, was set to produce a year in which almost nothing got done, and they appeared to be fine with that. Then Trump began skillfully issuing executive orders on immigration and ObamaCare and the logjam appears to be breaking up in Congress as Trump gave Democrats reasons to do something other than vote no in unison . Trump the rank amateur came up with a strategy that eluded GOP veterans in Congress. We could toss at random a series of rocks in most red states, or red areas in blue states, and likely hit more effective leaders than these clowns. Bush the younger yesterday attacked Trump for alleged bigotry. This from a man whose father was attacked as a bigot by Democrats over the Willie Horton ad, and who was attacked as a bigot himself by Democrats over the death of James Byrd, Jr. Unless when he was too drunk to notice, Bush can’t have missed how Democrats have routinely used race hatred to whip up votes all his adult life. However, the Bushes said nary a word in response to this, but Donald Trump is to be taken to task? I personally find Trump to be frequently appalling, but more appalling to me is the fact that Trump has helped underline the fact of just how fake the conservatism is of many conservative leaders, and how impotent leadership may simply mask indifference if not outright opposition. I recall how appalled former GOP minority leader of the House, the late Bob Michel, was after he left Congress, following the Republican success in taking back the House in 1994, when he first heard the Rush Limbaugh talk show. Too harsh, too confrontational said the man whose entire political career consisted largely of being a good loser to Democrats in legislative battles in the House, and then enjoying golf and cards with the Democrat leadership after hours. Michel was in many ways a good man, who served bravely in World War II, but he is a symbol of why Republican rank and file voters have every reason to be appalled with their so-called leaders, and why Trump elicits now from me very reluctant cheers.